One day after CNN reported that a West Wing military aide tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump plans to welcome eight World War II veterans — ages 95 to 100 — to the White House on Friday.
Alex Melikian, the granddaughter of one of the vets who will meet with Trump — Sgt. Gregory Melikian, 97 — is concerned about his participation in the event, which will mark the 75th anniversary of the German surrender, known as V-E Day.
“I think it’s very irresponsible to have the last remaining World War II veterans travel across the country to take a photograph during a global pandemic,” Alex Melikian told the New York Times. “People over the age of 80 have the highest chance of passing away from this. If he gets it, this could be the end. I know it’s his choice to go, but it’s irresponsible to even have an event like this in the first place. … When he comes back, he could pass it along to my grandma. He shouldn’t be leaving his house. ”
More from the NYT: As part of the celebration, the veterans will have their pictures taken at the White House with the secretaries of defense and state as well as the first lady, Melania Trump, and the president, according to a schedule prepared by the Greatest Generations Foundation, which organized the event. The schedule says the men, who range in age from 96 to 100, will be tested before they enter the White House grounds. The group is then expected to ride in the president’s motorcade to the memorial for the ceremony.
Judd Deere, the deputy White House press secretary, assured the NYT that the administration will take precautions to keep the veterans, the president and others safe — even though Trump refuses to even wear a mask.
“Leave it to the media to question eight brave war heroes for joining the president of the United States at the nation’s World War II Memorial on the 75th anniversary of V-E Day,” Deere said. “As young men, these heroes stared evil in the eyes. No pandemic will stop them from joining their commander in chief for this momentous occasion.”
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